University of Illinois at Chicago
journal.pone.0065235.pdf (8.48 MB)

Inhibition of Fast Axonal Transport by Pathogenic SOD1 Involves Activation of p38 MAP Kinase

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posted on 2014-03-18, 00:00 authored by Gerardo A. Morfini, Daryl A. Bosco, Hannah Brown, Rodolfo Gatto, Agnieszka Kaminska, Yuyu Song, Linda Molla, Lisa Baker, M. Natalia Marangoni, Sarah Berth, Ehsan Tavassoli, Carolina Bagnato, Ashutosh Tiwari, Lawrence J. Hayward, Gustavo F. Pigino, D. Martin Watterson, Chun-Fang Huang, Gary Banker, Robert H. Brown Jr, Scott T. Brady
Dying-back degeneration of motor neuron axons represents an established feature of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) associated with superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutations, but axon-autonomous effects of pathogenic SOD1 remained undefined. Characteristics of motor neurons affected in FALS include abnormal kinase activation, aberrant neurofilament phosphorylation, and fast axonal transport (FAT) deficits, but functional relationships among these pathogenic events were unclear. Experiments in isolated squid axoplasm reveal that FALS-related SOD1 mutant polypeptides inhibit FAT through a mechanism involving a p38 mitogen activated protein kinase pathway. Mutant SOD1 activated neuronal p38 in mouse spinal cord, neuroblastoma cells and squid axoplasm. Active p38 MAP kinase phosphorylated kinesin-1, and this phosphorylation event inhibited kinesin-1. Finally, vesicle motility assays revealed previously unrecognized, isoform-specific effects of p38 on FAT. Axon-autonomous activation of the p38 pathway represents a novel gain of toxic function for FALS-linked SOD1 proteins consistent with the dying-back pattern of neurodegeneration characteristic of ALS.


Support was provided by 2007/2008 Marine Biological Laboratory summer fellowships and NIH (NS066942A) grants to GM; Howard Hughes Medical Institute-USE Grant #52006287 to Hunter College of CUNY (LM); Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and NIH (R01NS44170) grants to LJH; MDA and NIH (NS23868, NS23320, NS41170) grants to STB; NIH grant MH066179 to GB; NIH grants R01AG031311 and R01NS055951 to DMW; NIH (U01NS05225, R01NS050557, 1RC1NS068391, 1RC2NS070342) grants to RHB; R01NS067206 to DAB; ALS Association grants to GM, AT, RHB, and STB; and ALS/CVS Therapy Alliance grants to RHB, GM, AT, LJH, and DAB. RHB and AT received support from the Angel Fund. RHB also received support from the DeBourgknecht Fund for ALS Research, P2ALS and Project ALS.


Publisher Statement

© 2013 Morfini et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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